Home > Uncategorized > In which I resolve nothing

In which I resolve nothing

After visiting some family friends a while ago, my father commented that they are all “porking up” and that their teenage girl looked “like a sausage.”

He must be so disappointed in me.

I know that nature doesn’t care if you’re ripped. I know that thin doesn’t necessarily equate being healthy. I know that my father doesn’t approve of me fasting, intermittently or otherwise, or of my occasional flirtations with self-induced vomiting. But having a low body fat percentage is the holy grail of the body project. It is the only, the all-encompassing project, and it shrinks the world to a pinpoint of obsession. If I really want to be honest here, on an emotional level, I would prefer to be thin than to be strong. This is problematic at best and wrong and damaging at worst. I would love to have some visible abs, but in a pinch I would take a few visible rib bones.

But diet (low carb paleo), exercise (strength, occasional sprinting), sleep (magnesium and l-tryptophan induced), and supplements (fish oil, borage oil, amino acids, vitamin D3, iodine, over-the-internet-counter desiccated porcine thyroid, maca powder) have not helped me reach a low body fat percentage. Apparently, my body would prefer to shut down its reproductive and metabolic functions before it releasing extraneous  fat stores.

I have tried carb cycling with sweet potatoes and cycling hypo- with hyper- caloric days. I have tried all meat, all the time. I have tried meditation, but my thoughts always circle back to my failure to be a thin person. I have tried cognitive therapy, but I think you really have to believe the thoughts you are trying to think. If your actual inner self is convinced that the positive thoughts are absolute lies, cognitive therapy is a wash, and an exhausting one to boot.

Meanwhile, on an intellectual level, I know that thinness, as well as not equating health, does not equate happiness. Any time I ever lost any weight (those were the days!), I would immediately adjust my goal weight down a few pounds. And yet, the things that are positively correlated with (though not necessarily causal of) happiness: marriage, religion, a sense of community, a sense of meaning, gun ownership, etc. seem very hard to come by.

I rarely remember dreams, and I seem devoid of any deep feeling or empathy. I feel like the psychological version of Helen Keller. If I believed in reincarnation, I might think that in a previous life I had been hurt so grievously that I was reborn without the ability to love. How’s that for maudlin?

Now, what am I going to do about it?

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  1. Lynn
    April 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Yes, life seems on hold and unfulfilling; not really lived while one feels trapped in a fat body. Are you medically overweight or obese?

    • commutergrrl
      April 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

      No, just average. But most average women hate their bodies. Life seems on hold and unfulfilling for so many of us. What can be done about this?

  2. Matthias
    May 1, 2010 at 4:18 am

    Hi there,
    I know this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I can relate to that, at least a bit. I know that simply because of the fact that I’m male and also have been rather thin most of my life, I probably won’t be able to fully understand all this and I’m not going to pretend that I do, but I still want to share a few of my thoughts here.

    I guess this is rather unusual for a male being at my age, but I have been kinda obsessed with my weight for a good part of my life (which just shows how fucked up our society really is). For the most part of my childhood I have been perhaps slighty overweight. But I took that way to serious and at the age of 12, ate much less, exercised much more and lost weight. This even went so far that the parents of a friend of mine believed I was anorexic. Things evened out a bit, but fast forward six years and at the end of my low-carb phase I probably was the thinnest I had ever been.

    Why am I telling you all this? Well, I guess not by coincidence, these were the times where I pretty much was the worst I’ve ever been. Especially at the end of my low-carb period. Now, my weight has increased by roughly 20% (okay, this sounds more than it actually is, since I was very light before that). And even though I probably look fairly normal right now, I sometimes freak out a bit about the weight I gained and uselessly worry about it. But that said, I also feel much much better and never ever would go back.

    So what does that mean for you? Well, all I wanna say is that weight is not everything. Now, this may sound incredibly naive, because you probably heard this a thousand times, but obsessing over it will only make it work. I even think that obsessing over weight will only stand in your way when trying to lose weight. In my opinion step one, whether you want to lose weight or not, should be to get a more positive self-image. Now that’s easier said that done and you also mentioned meditation so you definitely seem to be working on that aspect as well.
    What I personally would recommend to get a more positive self-image is EFT. Here’s an article about it, although I don’t think it’s the best that’s out there: http://www.mercola.com/forms/eftcourse.htm It certainly sounds like humbug and people rip on it quite often, but it does work. As long as you really get emotionally involved with it and not only do it half-heartedly it can really be a powerful tool. If you don’t believe me, try to get access to the documentation about it, that really is a convincing, powerful movie.
    Also, when it comes to weight loss/positivity/self-image I have heard a lot of positive things about Jon Gabriel, his book and his videos (youtube), though I personally haven’t dug too deep into that, so I can’t really tell.

    So, ultimately I think there is a lot of truth to Diana Schwarzbeins statement “you have to get healthy, before you get thin”. And I think both mentality and nutrition play a great role on this. I already mentioned the self-image stuff and when it comes to nutritional advice you already know where I would point you to, so I guess that’s it for this comment.

    • commutergrrl
      May 3, 2010 at 10:09 am

      Thanks! On an intellectual level, I know this, but believing it has never been possible. I think for EFT to work, you have to believe it does, and I am woefully short on faith…

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